Got a text from a customer...

I just got a text from a customer I did a 4 point for a couple of months back asking me about their “Fire alarms” (I assume they mean smoke alarms) not working and why didn’t I alert them to this fact?.

Granted, I’m a newb inspector compared to most of you folks here. Maybe I missed something here but, testing smoke/CO alarms - as far as using the test button; is something I do regularly as part of a standard home Inspection and not a 4 - Point.

On a 4-Point I report only on the 4 major systems and smoke detectors attached to an alarm system isn’t part of it. Am I off the rails on this?

Their Insurance Co. is State Farm if I remember correctly. I used John Shishilla’s fillable .pdf on this inspection. Does State Farm have a form of their own that request this?

I haven’t spoke to the customer yet.

Any opinions/guidance or even correction on how I perform my 4-points is appreciated regarding this situation.

Thanks in advance.

State Farm form is almost like a full home inspection… it is ridiculous.

Nowhere on the State Farm form, or any other 4pt form that I know of, asks about smoke alarms. It’s not part of a 4pt insurance inspection.

99% of the time I have to re-inspect an older home to write up a “passable” 4-point.
In the original report I state if alarms have to be replaced or added (10 year battery on non-hardwired older homes).
Then I state on the 4-point that smoke alarms have been updated to today’s standards.

Who told you smoke and carbon monoxide detection isn’t part of the electrical system? Did the person who taught you this provide any information from an authoritative source reinforcing this notion?

Seems to me you are being provided inaccurate information about just what’s constitutes the “electrical system” of a structure. I would do some research on your own and review NFPA 70 & 72. Also,

I’m afraid to even ask about appliances……

Thanks for the replies gentlemen, I am starting to wonder if they did an upgrade with their alarm system (s/d’s tied into it etc.) and then tried to get a discount w/ their insurance carrier and now this has popped up?

She (homeowner) requests that I come out to verify and amend my report to state there are new functioning detectors present in the home. I don’t have a problem w/ doing that, my concern was that I didn’t do something I should have done in the first place as part of the 4 point.

Talking with you guys re-enforces what I thought I already knew - s/d’s aren’t part of a 4 point. I guess I was just mind-f’ing myself…:stuck_out_tongue:

Anyways, thanks once again for the replies gents!

Alarm system discounts usually are handled directly through the agent, and separate from the 4pt inspection. By the way, I never test a smoke alarm when I know it’s interconnected on the alarm system of a multi-family building.


4-points are not provided for premium reductions, not sure why you are intertwining the two.

Let’s see if we can all figure this out together…yes or no…the 4-point is required when the structure is of a certain age and the owners wish to acquire “home owners insurance”…yes?

What damages are covered by “home owners insurance”? Fire maybe? Yes…no?

The insurer wishes no know what systems are in place, their condition and working order, any deficiencies with those systems, and if they have been updated to limit the possibility of damages to the insured structure. Could fire maybe be part of that equation? Possibly? Maybe?

If I’m not mistaken, the “big dogs” (insurers) might make the rules on this as the form isn’t governed by the state like the OIR-B1 1802.

Enjoy your day…

Ha! I learned my lesson many moons ago.
I tested one in a high rise FT Laud beach condo.
The fire dept showed up & was not happy.

In Florida, 114 residential fire deaths were reported by U.S. news media between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2014. Of those incidents, 43 percent of the homes did not have alarms or working smoke alarms. Missing or disconnected batteries are a main reason smoke alarms fail to operate in residential fires. A recent survey conducted on behalf of Kidde ranked late-night low-battery chirps as the top smoke alarm annoyance, with 40 percent of respondents opting to either disconnect the alarm or wait a day or more to replace the battery. A long-life battery sealed inside an alarm makes it virtually tamper-proof and reduces the risk associated with disabling the alarm.

As long as you are warm and fuzzy grabbing your check and skating down the road…who cares, right?

What your licensure defines as parts of the electrical system:

61-30.803 Standards of Practice, Electrical Systems.
(1) Electrical systems and components include the following:
(l) Smoke detectors;
(m) Carbon monoxide detectors;

Queue the “I’m, legally exempt for the requirements of my licensure during the performance of insurance inspections” arguments.

Contact your attorney or insurer, let them know you are not following the requirements of your licensure when you use it to perform insurance inspections…let me know how that one works out.

[quote=“jvandigriff, post:1, topic:111368”]

I just got a text from a customer I did a 4 point for a couple of months back asking me about their “Fire alarms” (I assume they mean smoke alarms) not working and why didn’t I alert them to this fact?.


**R314.1 Smoke detection and notification. **
All smoke alarms shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 217 and installed in accordance with the provisions of this code and the household fire warning equipment provisions of NFPA 72.

NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code


I put some extra cheese on a pizza one night which boiled over onto the oven and set off the fire alarms at a hotel one night and got a visit from the fire dept.

Smoke detectors are specifically listed in the state rules as part of the electrical system.

If you are performing a four point inspection as a licensed home inspector, smoke detectors are part of your inspection of the electrical system.

Fire away… No pun intended.

UPDATE: A little backstory on this customer; she suffers from some sort of nerve disorder/illness that causes her a lot of pain and therefore is on some pretty heavy duty pain meds from what little her hubby shared w/ me at the original inspection.

I didn’t delve into it - don’t wanna know and it’s not my business, other than to say I think it played a part in what’s been going on with regards to this posting.

Ok, having said this, I had responded earlier to her that her “issue” had nothing to do with a 4 point etc. and many hours later, she said she made a mistake and it was an issue regarding fire prevention on the wind mit (huh whaa?!) I had done for them and not the 4 point!

At this point, I started to sense I may be dealing with someone that was not “at their best” so to speak. I decided not to respond to her and wait 'till I got home and contact her Husband to get down to the bottom of this.

Bottom line is, whatever she was freaking out over; it had nothing to do with my services. I can only guess that she was mistaking some other paper work (maybe insurance related?) she had as having originated from me.

I dunno, Confused yet? Yeah me too.

Whatever, the conversation with the hubby ended with him apologizing for them bothering me, they figured out whatever it was and it had nothing to do with the services performed by me. He wished me a good evening and a Happy Thanksgiving as did I to him and he abruptly hung up…

The weirdest interaction with a customer I’ve had to date.

Whatever, important thing is they know I did nothing to cause them any grief. Services performed for them were solid.

My head hurts now, I’m off to the backyard for a beer outta the cooler…:stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the upgrade much appreciated … Roy

Looks like another “silver alert” :frowning: See them here at least a couple times a week on I-75.